Passover/UB Feast in Michigan
This column includes information sent to us from a variety of groups. Servants’ News does not necessarily agree with the teachings or practices of these groups. Please ask about them before attending their functions.
Six days of services, praise, education, feasting, fun and fellowship are planned for March 30 to April 4, 1999 in the Lansing, Michigan area. Everyone is invited to participate in any or all of it:
Day Time Location Event
Tue 7:30 pm 1 Bread & Wine Service
Wed 7:30 pm 1 Night to Be Observed meal and brief study
Thr 12 noon 2 Potluck Holy Day meal
Thr 1:30 pm 2 Holy Day Services
Fri 10 am 2 Leave for tour of Michigan Historical Center (learning and fun for young and old).
Fri 7:30 pm 2 Hymn, praise & worship sing along.
Sat 12 noon 2 Potluck meal
Sat 1:30 pm 2 Sabbath Services
Sat 6:00 pm 3 Family dinner, gym and game night—til midnight.
Sun 3:00 pm 4 Year 2000 preparation seminar by Franklin Frith, industry consultant.
Locations: 1 (homes & Servants’ News)
2 Dutch Hills Clubhouse
3 Haslett Middle School
4 Meridian Township Hall
For directions and more information, call Norm or Marleen Edwards, 517-543-5544. Nearby motels: Willow Lakes Motel & Grocery, 517-339-9021, $30 per night; East Lansing Travel Lodge, 517-337-1621, $45-$50 per night.
Middle Singles To New Orleans
Attention "singles in the middle" (ages 30 to 55): You are invited to join singles from across the globe in a Spring Holy Day activity in the greater New Orleans, Louisiana area from March 31 to April 4, 1999. All Holy Day and Sabbath activities will be at this hotel. A four-night stay at the Holiday Inn Hammond Atrium & Conference Center will cost $65 plus tax with four persons per room, including a hot-breakfast buffet each morning. Also planned, are a Night to be Much Observed Dinner ($20), a Thursday night social ($8), a Friday riverboat cruise ($18 including lunch), and a Saturday night dinner dance ($15). Contact: Ina McLemore at 504-386-7774, e-mail: InaMac@Juno.com.
Dave Havir to Charleston, WV
The Church of God—Southern West Virginia, and neighboring congregations and fellowships will host Dave Havir, pastor of the United Church of God—Big Sandy, on April 3rd, 1999. At 10:30 AM a Bible Study will be conducted by Mr. Havir lasting until noon. For those who wish to stay at the hall and fellowship, the local congregations will be providing a potluck type meal for all who wish to eat. For those who wish to eat at local restaurants, a listing can be found on our website along with hotels/motels at:
Sabbath services will begin at 2:30 PM with Mr. Havir presenting the main message. If you plan to attend and eat lunch with us, please call 1-888-293-2243 and give us the number of people in your party. —George Hampton
The Church of God International announces their 1999 calendar of special events (in Tyler Texas unless otherwise noted). April 2-4: Bible Study Weekend; June 19-26: Sabbath Keeping Youth Summer Camp; June 27-July 4: Teen and young Adult Backpacking trip in Colorado; July 11-17: Imperial Academy college-level Bible courses; December 23-26: Sabbath keeping Youth Annual Lock-In.
All are welcome to these events as well as The Church of God, International Sabbath and Holy Day services in Tyler, Texas. For more information contact: The Church of God, International; PO Box 2525; Tyler, TX 75710; e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Proclaiming Sabbath More Fully
A Sabbath conference for those who follow a Hebrew carpenter from Nazareth. When? May 21-23, 1999 (Friday 6:00PM-Sunday 6:00PM). Where? Lake Region Conference Campground, Cassopolis, Michigan (30 miles from Andrews University).
Why a Sabbath Conference? The renewed interest in the Hebrew roots of Christian faith is one of the great works that the Holy Spirit is producing in the church in this century. After being marred for nearly two millennia by Judaeophobia, anti-Judaism, and anti-Semitism, Christianity is experiencing the beginnings of a revolution, as scholars, ministers, leaders, and laymen in virtually every denomination of the body of Christ are engaging themselves in a quest to reclaim the church’s Judaic heritage.
Speakers: Sidney L. Davis, Deacon, Lake Region Confer ence; Jacques Doukhan, Professor, Institute of Jewish Studies-Andrews University; John Garr, President, Restoration Foundation; Oscar Lane, Evangelist, Last Day Revival Ministries; George Malkmus, Back to the Garden Health Ministries, Hallelujah Acres; Richard Washington, Pastor, Lake Region Conference, P. A. Wellington, founder, Project Gamaliel.
Cost: Each cabin will cost $30.00 (can hold up to six people). Camper and RV $30 (incl. water and electrical hookups). This will cover the cost for the entire conference. Meals will be a vegetarian pot luck, come to share!
Contacts: [person requested removal] or Sidney Davis 847- 785-0315. To reserve a cabin or RV space send your check or money order by May 1st to: The Sabbath Conference; PO Box 32; Arlington Heights, IL 60006-0032.
Steven Collins to Kansas City
Steven Collins, author of The ‘Lost’ Ten Tribes of Israel ... Found! will speak in Kansas City on May 8, 1999. The Church of God—Kansas City is sponsoring his visit. Location: RLDS Building, 3100 S. Crysler, Independ ence, Missouri. Time yet to be determined. A question & answer session and a pot luck meal are being planned. Contact Rick Frazee at 816/461-3252 or Rex Jamerson at 913/262-6009.
Steve Collins To Australia
Steve Collins is the author of the 439 page book, The "Lost" Ten Tribes of Israel... Found! Hosea 1 shows that God would multiply the Ancient Israelites population after their expulsion from Palestine around 721 B.C.
A century later, the prophet Jeremiah sent a message to the ten tribes, and Josephus, the famous Jewish historian, wrote that the ten tribes were too numerous to count in the 1st century A.D., and he even named their western border!
This book explodes the myth that the ten tribes of Israel disappeared or can’t be found! It reveals startling, but well-documented, facts about their migrations, wars and empires throughout history. It answers these and other interesting questions:
• Why are the ten commandments (in ancient Hebrew) written on ancient artifacts found in New Mexico and Ohio?
• What historical records show the Israelite escape routes from the Assyrian captivity around 721 B.C.
• Why have Carthaginian coins and inscriptions been found in many areas of North America? Why did the Carthaginians call their own city "Kirjath-Hadeschath," a Hebrew name?
• The ancient Greeks wrote much about the Scythians; why do modern history texts ignore them?
• For centuries, the Roman and Parthian empires were "equals" in the ancient world. Why do modern texts almost totally ignore Parthia?
The book is available post-paid for $20 in the USA from Steve Collins; P.O. Box 88735; Sioux Falls, SD 57109-1005. It is $25 from Australia and $31 from New Zealand from History Research Projects, GPO Box 864, Sydney, NSW 2001; phone: (02) 9528 5049; e-mail email@example.com; website:
Steve Collins is planning an Australian lecture tour for mid-1999, his health permitting (recovering from a botched and painful surgery). Those interested in assisting with this tour should contact Craig White, at History Research Projects, above.
Literature/Tapes in French!
Are there any French-reading people who would like to read independent literature? We have been translating the main articles from Servants’ News (since its beginning until August 1997, and again from July 1998). A 6-tape series of How does the Eternal govern through Humans? (August 1998) is also available. Some articles from Shelter in the Word are translated as well, not orally, but by writing by Mrs. Dubois, our Sister with whom we meet. About 60 tapes of Jim Rector’s sermons are also translated.
We can send you a list of the translation we made and if it would help any French speaker, we would be delighted and blessed. I have been translating sermons for many years in the Churches of God, so it is quite fluent, and Mrs. Dubois has been studying English for three years now.
We would like to hear from anyone who is interested in French speaking literature.
—Guy and Mireille Hodiamont
HWA 1939 Government Article in German
Herbert Armstrong's now-famous article on church government, originally published in the February 1939 "Good News of the Kingdom," has been translated into German. [*] Any who would like to receive a copy should e-mail me. I can send it in two-column Word 6.0 or Word 97 formats, or WordPad, HTML or plain text (.txt) formats, or simply as e-mail. If you would like a printed copy, contact the Hodiamonts (see previous news item).
[To receive this article, please contact Servants’ News at: Info@ServantsNews.com —Thank you.]
Need More "Bible Hymnals"
We still have a few outstanding requests from people who need copies of the older purple WCG Hymnal, but we have no hymnals to send out. If you have or know of any books that are not being used, please send them to us and we will send them on to those who have requested them. The Eternal is certainly pleased with helping others to sing praises to Him, no matter which group they may be a part of. You may send these book rate to PO Box 220, Charlotte, Michigan 48813 or by UPS to 202 Pearl St., Suite 8, Charlotte Michigan 48813. Thank you!
—Norman S. Edwards
Help a Family in Tragedy
Thursday, January 14, my brother-in-law David Madsen was killed in an automobile accident while driving to work. He is survived by his wife Lori and (14 year old) daughter Ginni. Dave had little insurance so his place of employment has set up an account for Lori to defer some of the expense and to take care of some of her initial financial concerns.
It is The Dave Madsen Memorial Fund account #0000179663 at Columbia Bank; 6202 Mount Tacoma Drive SW; Lakewood, WA 98499 (for bank transfer, it is route #125108272). If anyone would like their donation to be tax deductible, they can send it to CRMI at PO Box 111, Auburn, WA 98071, and we will pass all contributions directly to the memorial fund.
Death of Robin Hulme
Robin (Sutcliffe) Hulme passed away on January 15, 1999. Her death was caused by cancer—an illness she had struggled with 13 years ago. She is survived by her husband, David Hulme; three children, Mark, Kirsten, and Scott; her parents, Mr. and Mrs. Colin Sutcliffe of Australia, and a sister and brother-in-law, Brian and Gillian Orchard of Arcadia,California.
David Hulme is the founder of the Church of God, an International Community. Mr. Orchard is currently a minister in that Church. Colin Sutcliffe was a minister in the Philadelphia Church of God, but has recently moved to another organization.
Donations may be made to the Robin L. Hulme Memorial Fund to assist young people in the Church of God with their educational activities. Write: POBox 150, Monrovia, Calif. 91017.
WCG To Sell Pasadena Campus
Bernie Schnippert of the Worldwide Church of God stated that a "letter of intent to purchase" has been signed and expects that they will open escrow soon. Foster City-based real estate developers, Legacy Partners, will probably pay in excess of 100 million dollars for the property, to build a "mixed use urban village" on the site. (The exact amount was not disclosed). Bill Shubin, a Legacy partner, anticipates razing some of the college buildings, but certainly retaining 4 mansions and the Auditorium. He expects it will take a year or more to get the property zoning changed to comply with the "West Gateway" specific plan, adopted by the City of Pasadena to set guidelines for changing the campus from public to commercial use.
At least two different groups are attempting to initiate legal action to block this sale. The theory is that much of the money was donated for the specific purpose of preaching Herbert Armstrong‘s doctrines, and it is a breach of trust to sell these buildings and use it for other purposes. There is talk of demonstrations and a mass-publicity campaign. One group identifies itself simply as "The Underground Church"—with no individual’s names or addresses. The other is John Allen and the Restoration Church of God—an internet-based church (http://www.destiny-worldwide.net/rcg/). His "co-worker letters" posted on that site indicate that he has had visions from God telling him he will be Herbert Armstrong’s successor.
[I personally believe that these expensive, hard-to-maintain buildings would not benefit any Church organization today. Those seeking to preach the Gospel in the non-materialistic style of the New Testament would not want to be identified with them. If a major media story does come out of the efforts to secure these buildings, it will be one more reminder to the world of Armstrong’s physical riches, rather than his service to others or his understanding of the Bible! —NSE]
Home Fellowship Newsletter
Helping Hands is a new newsletter designed to focus upon the questions, needs, challenges, and problems faced by small assemblies or home-based fellowships. As many of you know from firsthand experience, life outside the corporate churches can be rife with confusion and difficulty. Leaving a large church setting brings with it a whole new set of situations that must be faced, many of them involving an individual or personal confrontation. We all revel in our new-found freedom, but what about the responsibility such liberty brings with it? Helping Hands will attempt to deal with the hard part of small-group worship.
It is a relatively small, 4-8 pages per issue, newsletter-type format. There is no charge or cost involved for anyone wishing to receive it. Helping Hands is offered completely free with no strings attached. We are particularly hopeful that at at least one person in each small fellowship will receive a copy. This present point in time is a very crucial one for many of God’s people. There is a fantastic opportunity for real spiritual growth and more profitable spiritual service now than perhaps ever before. If you are interested in receiving Helping Hands, write or e-mail: Jim Rector; 3802 Olive St; Texarkana, TX 75503-3320; e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Free Sabbath Morning E-mail
I want to take this opportunity to invite you to subscribe to a new list service: The Sabbath Morning Companion. You will receive a weekly inspirational message designed for Sabbath keepers. It will be a great way to start your Sabbath day with a short, thought provoking article.
If you are interested in subscribing to this free service, send me your e-mail address. Everyone is welcome! Of course, you may quit whenever you like.
Free Ex-SDA E-mail Newsletter
On January, 1998, @REST became a weekly publication. @REST exists to quickly and concisely convey who, what, how, where and sometimes "why" our God is bringing us to a RESTing place in Jesus Christ. We anticipate and celebrate the events that are happening in our fellowship and wish to help announce and celebrate the events in similar ministries.
We believe that the Church of God is all believers gathered by the Holy Spirit and joined into one body, Christ being the Head.
We are a community of believers organized in a covenant relationship for worship, fellowship and service, practicing and proclaiming common convictions, while growing in grace and in the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
We are committed to the priesthood of all believers and practice the autonomy of the local congregation, as we seek to work in association with others for a more effective witness.
Though we have some similar convictions and beliefs with our brothers and sisters of the Seventh-Day Adventist Church, we are a non-denominational, unaffiliated, Spirit-filled church operating under the Lordship of Jesus Christ.
We believe our church offers a unique message in preparation for the return of the Lord Jesus Christ and provides believers an environment to experience the freedom which allows the Holy Spirit to reign supreme. Acts 2:17 reads: "In the last days, God says, I will pour out my Spirit on all people..." (NIV)
Thank you for your interest in @REST and we hope to hear from you soon. We are your @REST editors, Tom and Mary Katherine O’Haver. In the event you want to add other members or would like to remove yourself from @REST’s subscriber’s list, please send a reply to the following e-mail address: email@example.com. —@REST
[As we are "breaking down our walls" and accepting others outside of our organization as believers, there are others in other organizations "breaking down their walls". This is not an ecumenical movement—ecumenical movements seek to unify church organizations from the top down by merging them all into a "super organization". The Biblical approach is for each member to decide with whom they will fellowship and what ministries to support—not to let human organizations decide who is and is not a part of the body of Christ. —NSE]
Read Has Time Been Lost?
We are not sure who wrote the excellent booklet, Has Time Been Lost? It was not Herbert Armstrong. It was likely someone in the Church of God, 7th Day. However, we are sure that this booklet is timely and much needed today. One of the talk show hosts of St. Louis radio station KJSL (which staged the Sabbath debate between Samuele Bacchiocchi and Dale Ratzlaff) expressed his belief that the "Saturday" of today is not the same Saturday as during the time of Christ. This utterly false idea is still around, even in "educated" circles! "Has Time Been Lost?" tells the truth that the weekly cycle has not been broken. It is one of several Sabbath tracts available from the Bible Sabbath Association. Single copies are free. You may order 100 copies of Has Time Been Lost?" for distribution for a donation of $35. To obtain your copy(s), see contact information in the next news item.
Sabbath Sentinel Now Free
The Sabbath Sentinel, published for more than 50 years, is now a free publication. You may subscribe via E-mail or by the address below. The online version should appear on the BSA website soon!
Giving & Sharing, now has a new web sites:
We need a webmaster to maintain and improve either or both these inter-Sabbatarian sites. Any volunteers?
Richard Nickels, 3316 Alberta Drive; Gillette, WY 82718; USA; e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. Phone: 307-686-5191.
Need Help Scanning Early Church of God Documents
Richard Nickels, author of ‘History of the Seventh Day Church of God (vol 1)’, put together a large collection of papers, booklets etc of old and out-of-print CoG literature going back decades, known as ‘History of the Seventh Day Church of God (vol 2)’.
The section headings are as follows: A. General Information, B. Stanberry Material, C. Denver-Merger Material, D. Dugger Material, E. Meridian, Idaho Group, F. Salem, West Virginia Group, G. Caldwell, Idaho Group, H. Sacred Names Material, I. Bible Sabbath Association, J. Gathering Call Material, K. Miscellaneous.
Richard is interested in hearing from anyone (or group of persons) who is interested in scanning this valuable and fascinating material. See previous article for contact information.
Sabbatarian Singles Resources
In an effort to draw our "net" closer about us in keeping the singles in touch with one another, I am including the latest addresses I have for locating all of God’s single chillun’s! Puh-leeze write to me if you have anything to add, or if I’ve made an error in a name or address!
Please let me know if there are any special activities planned for singles at the Feast this year so we can post them, or if there are any "designated single sites" where we can find new friends, and forge new bonds within the Body!
Sabbatarian Singles Fellowship Forum web site (18 & up), Marla Prouty, Moderator, SSFF@aol.com:
Sabbatarian Singles "snail mail" & e-mail list (18 & up) maintained by: Michelle Ward; 66 Demarest Ave; River Vale, NJ 07675; Kheryn@aol.com
Sabbath Singles Connection - SSC, A newsletter for singles in the Body of Christ (18 & up) published by Michael Kawasaki; 3229 Larkin Rd.; Biggs, CA 95917:
YA Web site (Young Adults -18-30-ish):
Singles in the Middle (30-55), Maintained by UCG Akron, OH:
Sabbath-keeping Singles Register, maintained by Portland UCG:
The Calendar of the UCG Singles, maintained by Portland UCG:
Sabbath Singles Message Board (does not appear to be moderated, has had some junk on it):
—Marla Prouty, Everett, WA
Norm Edwards in Phoenix
On January 23, 1999, Norm Edwards spoke to the "Building Bridges" group in Phoenix, Arizona. This is a group of Sabbath keepers who meet monthly, to bring many different congregations together for fellowship and to "undo" some of the division. The founders of this group also started it because they wanted to choose who they listen to when they meet together.
Jon Pike, introducing Edwards, said "the government paper, How Does The Eternal Govern Through Humans? may be the most significant contribution to the overall COG community. It is considered the primary church government treatise and has been nicknamed ‘The Non-Partisan Manifesto’ ". The paper upholds the true nature of the "royal priesthood" (church members) recorded in I Peter 2. Pike claims it was one of the two most powerfully impacting writings he has read from non-WCG literature in his life. The other writing, a paper written by Jim Rector is entitled, "The Heart of the Matter".
Edwards’ message began in Acts 6, 7, and 8 explaining that the words deacon and minister come from the same Greek word and are not separate offices or ranks. Many have erroneously believed that Acts 15 is about a "Jerusalem Conference" which set the precedent for future "Ministerial Conferences" making church policy and hierarchical decisions. Scripture reveals this meeting was initiated by believers in Antioch who decided to send men to Jerusalem. There were many other congregations that neither sent delegates to the meeting nor received the "results" from the meeting.
Edwards later discussed the letters to the seven churches in Revelation 2 and 3. He believes the letters were intended for the people then and for us today. The verses repeat the same words seven times showing the messages are for each of us individually and each individual is to listen to each of the seven messages. This is the opposite of the former teachings of many claiming these verses are only for those people in the "church era" the verse is referring to. The verses contain individual promises to individuals, not to whole groups of people in certain church eras.
Regarding modern history, today we find many people who believe similarly to us (WCG background) and yet they were never a part of our tradition. Many Sabbatarians can be found in many places today and have learned from verbal teachings instead of writings.
Discussion and feedback were welcomed during the question and answer session after the message. Fellowship and luncheon concluded the gathering.
Dave Havir Speaks in Chicago
On a pleasant sunny Sabbath, Dec. 12, 1998, upwards of 75 to 80 people from several fellowships in central Illinois, the Chicago area, and Wisconsin gathered in suburban Oak Brook to hear guest speaker Dave Havir, pastor of the United Church of God, Big Sandy. After a brief description of the outreach work the Big Sandy congregation is performing, Mr. Havir gave a sermon on the topic of "Two Pillars of Truth." The first pillar involves the understanding of what the church is, a spiritual organism, not any one corporate organization. All who have God’s Spirit are part of Christ’s body. The second pillar is an understanding of what a minister is. He emphasized that a minister is a helper of our joy, not one who has dominion over our faith. The rank system is not Biblical, he added, and we don’t need to ask a minister’s permission to serve God or our fellow man. Mr. Havir also said that he has no desire to build an empire, publish a magazine, or get involved in televangelism.
Following services, most of the group adjourned to the home of local pastor Ken Svehla and his wife Trisha for several hours of feasting and fellowship. This brings to mind the words of Psalms 133:1: "Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity."
Gerald Flurry in Dallas
On January 24th and 25th the Philadelphia Church of God presented America in Crisis—A Voice Cries Out Again! This is the first of what is intended to be a national tour.
Gerald Flurry founded the Philadelphia Church of God in 1990, with the foundation of Herbert Armstrong being the modern "Elijah" and his organization being the only true heir to his teachings.
The first night opened with all the lights out; then a spotlight on a young woman singing a very long version of the National Anthem that ended on a note that almost shattered all the glass in the immediate area. It was way over done.
Then Stephen Flurry spoke about 15 minutes about the PCG and their magazine, The Philadelphia Trumpet (whose circulation is now over 100,000). Most people raised their hand when he asked how many subscribed. There were quite a few PCG members present with some from San Antonio and Sacramento, CA.
Gerald Flurry then spoke about Matthew 24—a rather usual "Church of God" message. He did say at one point that "We should love our country more than ourselves." Where is that in Scripture? There was no question and answer session so there was no chance to ask about it.
The second night started with another glass-shattering opening, the Battle Hymn of the Republic. Ron Fraser gave some brief remarks about the news bureau and what they do.
The main presentation was on "The Abomination of Desolation" by Gerald Flurry. He started by quoting a Reuters news story about the Nazis going underground and planning their return and said that this is connected to the Abomination of Desolation—which is the ending of "the Work". (Later he stated that "None of the other church groups have a work to speak of.") He also quoted from HWA in May 1945 about the same subject mentioned by Reuters. He said that when armies surround Jerusalem it is a signal for God’s people, especially in America and Britain, to flee.
Thought: When leaders are in domestic trouble they tend to travel on foreign trips for deflection. Could this be Gerald Flurry’s version of this practice? Is He trying to rally the troops for this "national tour" and get their minds off the turmoil in the camp?
—Michael Turner, Plano, Texas
The split between the Global Church of God (Raymond McNair, chairman) and the Living Church of God appears to be final—we know of no attempt to reconcile the two. Of interest, the GCG dropped the lease on some of its extra office space, only to have it re-leased by the LCG. It looks like the two groups will have headquarters in the same building for years to come. We received one report of an office worker being "corrected" for being too talkative with a worker from the opposite camp. Can you imagine a new convert, hearing their gospel message, deciding to visit their headquarters to learn more about how we will live at peace in the Millennium, only to find two groups with nearly identical doctrine that cannot get along?
Also, we received documentation and testimony about a Global Church of God minister who was mistreating brethren for what were apparently church political motives [we will leave names out of this because the lesson is what is important, not the discrediting of a particular individual or group]. An investigation was done by another Global minister confirming abuse. The accused minister was in the process of being disciplined, but when the Global Church of God split, the investigating minister went to the new Living Church of God. The accused minister was cleared and reinstated by the new Global Church of God board—it seemed that his actions were aimed at promoting the new leaders, anyway.
Is the new Global Church of God board an outstanding bad example for not disciplining a minister just because he supports them? Actually, they are acting in the manner that appears to be standard procedure for most "church of God" groups. When I worked for the GCG, I heard many complaints of abuse by this same accused minister. It was not my job to investigate these complaints, and the GCG leadership seemed little interested in doing anything because the minister "brought a lot of people to Global". Later on, when I started Servants’ News, I heard at least 30 different individuals complain about the treatment they received from this minister. Was anything done by the GCG leadership? No, not until it became clear that the minister was not supporting the top GCG leadership, but was interested in promoting the new board.
If this is the only time where this had ever happened, it would not be worth mentioning. But selective enforcement of laws or ethical standards can be a powerful tool for control by those who should be responsible for administering justice. (In other words, when a "judge" is against your cause, every law is brought to bear against you, but when a "judge" likes your cause, your offenses are ignored.) —NSE
UCG-IA Approves US&BCBook
January 9, 1999 the UCG-IA doctrinal process committee’s 23 members approved the doctrinal content of Rick Sherrod's manuscript about the location of modern-day Israelites. His research, similar to many others, shows them to be living in the USA, British Commonwealth, and other European countries. Rick Sherrod, a former Ambassador University history professor, has been interested in the subject and compiling information for some time. John Ross Schroeder has been given the task of editing it down from its 110-page size to about 85 pages. Several titles have been suggested to try to capture the theme of "where are the Israelites?" but the final heading is yet undetermined.
CoG-IC Moving To Isolation?
A trusted but very concerned person attending the Church of God, an International Community gave us the following information. (He asked the specifics be withheld, lest he be prevented from attending.) In a local area sermon, a CoG-IC minister told the congregation that reading any Bible literature outside of the Bible, a few of Herbert Armstrong’s books and his group’s literature was a mistake. He said that God would not reveal any more knowledge to people who read other things, because their thinking would be messed up. He also clearly stated that brethren would be spiritually handicapped if they did not belong to the CoG-IC. He said membership in another organization was better than none, because a person in another group had a better chance of eventually joining the CoG-IC. The speaker was very sincere and not hateful to those of other views, but he seemed to see his group as "the way".
[The example of Christ and the apostles could hardly be more opposite from this example. They taught in the temple, synagogues, public places and houses. They answered questions of many who disagreed with their views. They dissuaded people from following false teachers, but nowhere did they order people to listen only to them. Even when the Galatians and Corinthians went after "another gospel", Paul did not fault them for listening to it, he faulted them for believing it (2Cor 11:4, Gal 1:6). The Ephesians were commended for "trying" (listening to and evaluating) those who claimed to be apostles, but finding them liars(Rev 2:2). —NSE]
Dave Havir Speaks in Phoenix
In the 2nd of the continuing series of non-partisan "Building Bridges" Sabbath meetings, Dave Havir spoke to a gathering of 115 brethren in Phoenix on November 7, 1998. This meeting, as the first one, attracted former and current WCG members from the various church organizations, as well as from home fellowships throughout Arizona. Both meetings took place amidst what can best be described as "that unmistakable and joyous Church of God atmosphere" and were reminiscent of family reunions.
Mr. Havir admitted that he is a product of our church culture and has only fairly recently been able to objectively determine that we were taught several mis-expoundings of scripture in support of our traditional church government theology.
Mr. Havir took questions at a break in his sermon, and then again after it ended. Admitting that in the past, he probably would have been a little fearful of taking questions in such a setting, but now feels that "if a minister is not willing to defend his presentation, but expects people to just mindlessly accept what he says—we’re wasting a lot of time."
After reminding us that the COG is a spiritual organism, he set out to demonstrate that any scriptural expounding that undermines that reality, such as misrepresenting the COG to be a single physical organization, constitutes heresy which leads to idolatry. He further indicated that we should expect God to "knock this heresy out of our heads before it’s all over."
of God Holds
God’s People Together
By reminding us that God’s saints will be brought before rulers of this world to testify, and that these future events will be organized by the spirit of God, he exposed the fallacy that organizational affiliation could somehow serve as an indicator of conversion. In the context of these end-time testimonies, Mr. Havir made it clear that the claim that "a group of 5-15 brethren is too small to be used by God" constitutes a denunciation of the spirit of God. Though it may make some of us feel more secure, God doesn’t need for us to all be in one organization for the gospel to be preached; and the over-emphasis on physical things, including church organizations and their ruling hierarchies, "insults the great God in heaven".
Misuse of "the Body" analogy
1 Corinthians 12:18, 22 and 23 say: "But now hath God set the members every one of them in the body, as it hath pleased Him. ... Nay, much more those members of the body, which seem to be more feeble, are necessary. And those members of the body, which we think to be less honorable, upon these we bestow more abundant honor; and our uncomely parts have more abundant comeliness."
Mr. Havir used these verses to illustrate that if someone were to claim for example, "I’m an eyeball in the Body, while you’re just a hair on the big toe, and you’ll never be as important as I am", they’d be transgressing the principle of verse 23, which tells us to bestow more abundant honor on those members we might perceive to be feeble. On the contrary, he exclaimed, "God is pleased to have you in the Body!" (v18).
He pointed out how other familiar contentions can run afoul of the spirit of 1 Corinthians 12:22. For example, when statements such as this are made: "We’re the true COG ... and, oh yeah there’s some feeble Christians over there that aren’t doing the work ... they’re perhaps an embarrassing part of the Body." Any instruction to avoid such Christians would clearly constitute a violation of the spirit of 1 Corinthians 12:23.
Mr. Havir reminded us of the man in Mk 9:38 who Jesus’ disciples opposed because he cast out demons in Christ’s name—"but was not in our group!" Christ admonished his disciples as a result of this and Mr. Havir made the point that in our day, such exclusivity promotion "is either due to ignorance, or greedy pursuit of money".
After reading 1 Corinthians 3:1-4 ("I am of Paul...I am of Apollos.’ are you not carnal?" etc.), Mr. Havir drew a parallel with today’s COG where "men are causing division in the body by encouraging the setting up of some men as champions. Paul called this carnal."
In citing Hebrews 6:4-6 (about how it is impossible to renew to repentance those who have committed the unpardonable sin), he said that such falling away "refers to falling away from the spirit of God, not changing one’s place of worship or physical affiliation." Mr. Havir stated that collective cooperation is something the Saints have the right to engage in—as long as the organizations that result don’t promulgate heresies (such as the ones he was exposing) to promote themselves.
Next, Mr. Havir showed how the old WCG military rank system is also a heresy. After reminding us how Jesus said "it shall not be so among you" (Matt 20:25-26) in regards to Gentile over-lording institutions, he then showed how the greater context surrounding I Cor 12:28 (1st apostles, 2nd prophets... etc.), from verses 1-31, establishes that this passage is addressing spiritual gifts, not ranks.
Mr. Havir said that the key difference in perspective, when viewing the spiritual gifts of 1 Corinthians 12 as ranks, as opposed to functions, is that the former places emphasis on men, while the latter moves the focus to God and Christ. He cited some faulty fruit as the legacy of the hierarchical rank system. He said that "the whole system of how we chose elders needs to be re-evaluated, as is being done in Big Sandy". He recounted how the old system empowered 21 year-old novices, before they were ready, by designating them as "elders". Other products of this unbiblical system he mentioned were people designated as "evangelist" who didn’t evangelize, and how people were encouraged to bury their talents. He also insisted that we all have the responsibility to "beware of false prophets, who will dress in sheep's’ clothing, not wolve’s clothing".
HWA’s biggest mistake
Mr. Havir opined that "probably the biggest mistake I ever heard Mr. (Herbert) Armstrong make was in the last sermon of his life. He didn’t know it’d be his last sermon and he did many wonderful things, but in that sermon he said in effect: ‘Some day I’m going to die and there will be a new Pastor General—and you should follow him, because your salvation depends on it.’ I’m not even talking about what later happened—just the concept of believing that your salvation depends on following any man, is a heresy. Making that claim is tantamount to claiming dominion over your faith, rather than being a helper of your joy. Helpers of joy don’t control people." [Unfortunately, Mr. Armstrong conducted most of his ministry claiming that his organization was exclusively "the Body of Christ." —NSE]
The True Biblical Hierarchy
Mr. Havir said that "the true biblical hierarchy" is found in I Cor 11:3 (...the head of every man is Christ, the head of woman is man...). He also said that the Bible makes no provision for men to be found "between" other men and Christ. He also showed how Eph 5:25 illustrates how the husband is to be head of the wife, "by being willing to die for her" rather than to demand service from her.
Following the Beast
Mr. Havir concluded by directing our attention to II Thes 2:3-4 (about the falling away and the revealing of the man of sin). He encouraged us to think of God’s Church as "the temple of God" as a possible spiritual fulfillment of that scripture. He pointed out that if that is what the scripture means, we could "expect to see in the COG, people acting like God, opposing God and exalting themselves in the place of God as in the case of the Catholic model". Noting that we’ve already experienced church government that placed a man or a group of men effectively in Christ’s place as Head of the Church, he said we should be able to visualize how this could transpire in a way that fulfills that scriptural interpretation, in the future.
Because of this unfortunate reality in our heritage, he said that "the COG has been set up to follow the beast. God has allowed this and people who don’t see this are asleep to it." He said that following Satan’s false government, instead of God, could bring some to this very dangerous place in their spiritual lives.
In contrast to that bleak scenario, Mr. Havir also said that something else we could expect to see in the future is "true, giving, sharing, loving, foot-washing servants of God; demonstrating their willingness to give up their wealth and prestige for the people of God, even to the point of being willing to die for them".
Following the meeting was a potluck, and then later an open house in a member’s home where the fellowship lasted many many hours. COG teacher Jim Rector, in Phoenix visiting relatives, was on hand for all the day’s activities. Subsequent scheduled "Building Bridges" Sabbath meetings are planned to include the participation of Ray Wooten in December, Norm Edwards in January, Ron Dart in February, and Jim Rector in March.
—Jon D. Pike, Phoenix, AZ